If it were possible to inquire upon the secret to making money during the gold rush from the individuals who succeeded at it, they would likely say, “Being the first one there!” The same model applies for today’s gold rush, or the business of medical marijuana, aptly dubbed the “Green Rush”. Based on independent statistics, medical marijuana is estimated to be a $60 billion industry in the United States, and now with 15 states including the District Of Columbia having legalized medicinal cannabis and 12 other states including New York, Indiana and Maryland considering similar bills; the time has arrived to go corporate. The profit potential for an organized business in this industry is huge and the “mom and pop” shops that currently inhabit it are not necessarily able to capitalize on the billions available in tangential sectors, like advertising, technology, product development, management and payment processing.
General Cannabis, Inc. (OTCPK: CANA); however, is capitalizing on these various sectors of the medicinal cannabis industry. General Cannabis owns numerous wholly owned subsidiaries including WeedMaps Media, Inc. which owns the largest dispensary finder site in the world, Weedmaps.com. However, Weedmaps.com isn’t just a finder site; management has rolled out numerous other services to help support their 800 plus clients including Daily Deal (coupons for patients), Weedfreebies, and photo & video packages. WeedMaps Media receives over 6 million visits per month and growing, and is consistently ranked in the top 5 search categories for medicinal marijuana. In short, WeedMaps possesses massive consumer appeal while simultaneously operating as an advertising platform for distributors. Weedmaps regularly has been compared to “Yelp” for cannabis. It’s massive traffic and direct-to-consumer advertising makes a listing on the site an obvious choice for dispensaries. Per the company’s S-1 filing Weedmaps went from generating less than $100,000 in income in 2009 to generating over $3.3million in 2010.
“We’re first to market in many sectors of the multibillion dollar medical cannabis industry. We have state-of-the-art technology combined with an exceptional sales force. We are confident we have a winning formula,” states President & COO Douglas Francis.
Marijuana is already a booming industry, but it’s fragmented. Small shops have difficulty toeing the line of legality, understanding their relationship with the community and growing beyond the scope of their small operations. A major corporation, equipped with infrastructure and an understanding of how best to expand as a technology service provider, among other things, is better equipped to capitalize on a market of this size.
Part of General Cannabis’s goal is to reduce the stigma associated with the industry. Aspects of medical marijuana are legal and need to be treated as such. Medicinal cannabis provides relief for pain and suffering, and General Cannabis is assisting with the marketing and promotion of services in the medicinal cannabis industry.
“We’re better off by being in the public arena and showing a face of professionalism,” says Jim Pakulis, Chief Executive Officer of General Cannabis. “The market will just continue to expand.”
Where there has historically been a perceived fear of any one marijuana company or seller getting too large because of legality (growing the plant still violates federal law, and recreational smoking remains illegal), a large corporation is better acquainted with operating within the parameters of the law.
General Cannabis is made up of professional businessmen with expertise in banking, management and technology. They’re able to be decisive about their business model, designing it to minimize risk and maximize profits. General Cannabis’s focus is primarily on driving technology to best support the medicinal cannabis market.
General Cannabis has numerous wholly owned subsidiaries that provide various services to the industry. WeedMaps Media, Inc. controls Weedmaps.com and anticipates introducing WeedMaps TV by 2nd quarter 2011. General Health Solutions, Inc. provides health care management services to 14 medicinal cannabis health clinics in California, and General Merchant Solutions, Inc. provide credit card processing services to dispensaries, health care providers, as well as the automotive and furniture industries.
Though General Cannabis boasts that they are the first and only public company to service the needs of the marijuana market on a major scale and exploit tangential markets, they’re in no way angling to be kingpins or overlords.
“We are a technology company with an affinity toward medicinal cannabis,” Pakulis stated in an interview. The company is moving to a larger headquarters April to better house a growing technology and sales department.
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